Naïm on Melbourne (NOM) is a South Brisbane institution, famous for its healthy, fresh breakfast and lunch fare. Naïm means happiness and comfort in Arabic, something that the team work hard to deliver.
Vince Estacio brings a creative, playful and worldly influence to his role as head chef and part-owner of NOM, and the original Naïm Paddington – read about what drives (and feeds!) him below.
Tell us about your background–professionally and personally!
I’m a Filipino American, born in Manila and raised in San Francisco, California. This wild ride pretty much started when I began my studies in nutrition at New York University. After a couple of years, I realised that I would much rather be behind the stoves learning how to cook food, rather than learning about all the molecular chemistry from a textbook.
Eight years after I graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts School, after working at Mourad Restaurant where I was sous chef (we were awarded a Michelin Star in just nine very stressful months), I found my way to Australia and wound up with the team at Naïm. My world is immersed in thinking about food and running a business all day, and I could not be any happier.
Favourite dish or drink on the menu?
I’m realizing that our space there is so flexible and approachable to all different kinds of customers. So technically I don’t have one single favourite! I love that we have an avo on toast (served with poached eggs, pistachio dukkah, feta cheese and pomegranate gel) as a brekkie option for the residents upstairs, quick and healthy hummus bowls and salads for all our corporate guests, and even homemade pastries (orange cake, Persian love cake and chocolate brownies) and snacks for all the people walking by.
What’s your ideal night out in Fish Lane?
Four Lacteeze pills and two scoops of Messina (any flavour!) ice cream.
You’re cooking dinner to impress at home – what are you making?
I make a mean roast. I trained as a butcher for a couple of years and have learned to properly cook various meats, and I certainly love impressing with a stunning roast! For my vegetarian friends, I make a pretty tasty whole roasted cauliflower.
If you could only eat one meal forever, what would it be?
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
Where was your last holiday?
South America (Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay).
Your go-to knock off cocktail?
Who is your biggest idol?
I have 2! Jacques Pepin & Ina Garten.
When he’s not knocking back a Paloma or cooking up a roast, you can find Vince working his magic at NOM – 109 Melbourne Street, South Brisbane.